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Innovation in tourism planning processes: Action learning to support a coalition of stakeholders for sustainability

Grant, Marcus


Marcus Grant


The tourism sector is a complex problem domain. Power is unevenly distributed, though control is rarely in the hands of a single group and actors hold a wide range of values. Supported by the Agenda 21 process, a group of tourism stakeholders on the Isle of Wight sought to influence the whole domain. Their objective was to foster more social and environmental inclusion in tourism. They chose to initiate a participatory process that itself would embody the changes they wanted to see. A programme of action research was carried out involving strategic planning for tourism through stakeholder workshops, parish meetings and an island-wide conference. The industry, local and regional actors, and environmental interests found common ground in the development and launch of an island-wide accreditation scheme. The key findings indicate both initial successes in strongly influencing the direction of tourism policy and also in leaving an increased capacity for social and environmental inclusion within the local political tourism discourse. Consensus building has been important in broadening support for the project, manifest through the development of an attractive core vision. In this action-based study, a reverberating answer has been given to the hanging question posed in the literature as to whether tourism can ever be planned or managed. The conclusion being that with a carefully crafted and reflexive process, a core group of stakeholders can have a profound influence on the entire domain at strategic and delivery levels. © 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd.


Grant, M. (2004). Innovation in tourism planning processes: Action learning to support a coalition of stakeholders for sustainability. Tourism and Hospitality Planning and Development, 1(3), 219-237.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2004
Journal Tourism and Hospitality, Planning and Development
Print ISSN 1479-0548
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Issue 3
Pages 219-237
Keywords tourism, planning, action learning, stakeholders, sustainability
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This action research project underpinned the piloting, evaluation and setting up of a successful green tourism accreditation scheme on the Isle of Wight.